The Impacts of Gambling
The impacts of gambling can be measured on three levels: interpersonal, societal, and personal. The personal level costs include those associated with the individual’s gambling behaviors, while the societal level costs involve costs to communities, the economy, and other industries. These external impacts, which can include both short-term and long-term costs, are most often invisible and unrecognized. The societal level impacts can be measured in terms of economic activity and general costs/benefits associated with problem gambling.
Gambling is a form of entertainment that can be a form of self-soothing for some people. For those who gamble to relieve boredom, it can be a way of socializing, unwinding, and reducing stress. Other forms of self-care can help people combat boredom, including exercising, spending time with friends who do not gamble, and practicing relaxation techniques. In addition, it can be difficult to break the cycle of gambling addiction if one doesn’t understand why it happens.
Teenagers often engage in both regulated and unregulated forms of gambling, including lottery tickets and scratchy cards. Some children develop an unhealthy gambling habit during their early adolescence. The odds are higher for teenagers to win the lottery than it is for adults to hit lightning. Although children may feel less pressure while gambling, it is important to remember that their family’s attitude towards gambling can have a negative impact on their behavior. In addition, limiting the number of exposures to gambling can make the risk of developing an addiction significantly lower.
If a family member is concerned that a loved one may be struggling with a gambling problem, they should seek help immediately. In many cases, it is helpful to seek counseling or therapy to address the issue. A family member can offer encouragement and support to a problem gambler who is willing to seek help. However, adult children may feel hesitant to approach a parent or a spouse if they feel threatened. In such a case, it is important to remember that the individual has the power to make changes if they have the desire to do so.
Once a family member or friend has recognized that the person has a gambling problem, the next step is to work to strengthen the support network. Those close to the addict should consider joining a support group to receive emotional and psychological support. Often, these groups will focus on overcoming the addiction. In addition, the person should engage in education and volunteer activities outside of the gambling realm. Finally, they should consider joining a support group such as Gamblers Anonymous. This is a 12-step program modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. To be eligible for these groups, an individual needs a sponsor – a former gambler who can provide guidance and support.
Although compulsive gambling is more common among men, women tend to get addicted to it more quickly. Women tend to start gambling later in life and become more susceptible to it. While these differences may not be present in all cases, these two genders are increasingly similar in their gambling behaviors. Family or friend influences can increase the likelihood of developing a gambling problem, as well as medications used to treat restless legs syndrome or Parkinson’s disease. There are also personality traits that increase the likelihood of developing a gambling problem.